Olympus E-PL6 vs Panasonic GF6
The Olympus PEN E-PL6 and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF6 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in May 2013 and April 2013. Both the E-PL6 and the GF6 are mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras that are equipped with a Four Thirds sensor. The Olympus has a resolution of 15.9 megapixels, whereas the Panasonic provides 15.8 MP.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Olympus PEN E-PL6 and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF6? Which one should you buy? Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their body size, their imaging sensors, their shooting features, their input-output connections, and their reception by expert reviewers.
The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Olympus E-PL6 and the Panasonic GF6. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive views from the front, the top, and the rear side are shown. All size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The E-PL6 can be obtained in four different colors (black, silver, red, white), while the GF6 is also available in four color-versions, but different ones (black, brown, red, white).
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Panasonic GF6 is somewhat larger (2 percent) than the Olympus E-PL6. However, the GF6 is slightly lighter (1 percent) than the E-PL6. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the E-PL6 nor the GF6 are weather-sealed.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete since they do not consider the interchangeable lenses that both of these cameras require. In this particular case, both cameras feature the same lens mount, so that they can use the same lenses. You can compare the optics available in the Micro Four Thirds Lens Catalog. Mirrorless cameras, such as the two under consideration, have the additional advantage of having a short flange to focal plane distance, which makes it possible to mount many lenses from other systems onto the camera via adapters.
The following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. If you want to switch the focus of the display and review another camera pair, you can move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible camera comparisons there.
|1.||Olympus E-PL6||111 mm||64 mm||38 mm||325 g||360||n||May 2013||599|
|2.||Panasonic GF6||111 mm||65 mm||38 mm||323 g||340||n||Apr 2013||499|
|3.||Olympus E-PL10||117 mm||68 mm||39 mm||380 g||350||n||Oct 2019||599|
|4.||Olympus E-PL9||117 mm||68 mm||39 mm||380 g||350||n||Feb 2018||599|
|5.||Olympus E-M10 III||122 mm||84 mm||50 mm||410 g||330||n||Aug 2017||649|
|6.||Olympus E-PL8||115 mm||67 mm||38 mm||357 g||350||n||Sep 2016||549|
|7.||Olympus E-M10 II||120 mm||83 mm||47 mm||390 g||320||n||Aug 2015||649|
|8.||Olympus E-M10||119 mm||82 mm||46 mm||396 g||320||n||Jan 2014||699|
|9.||Olympus E-PL7||115 mm||67 mm||38 mm||357 g||350||n||Aug 2014||599|
|10.||Olympus E-P5||122 mm||69 mm||37 mm||420 g||330||n||May 2013||999|
|11.||Olympus E-PL5||111 mm||64 mm||38 mm||325 g||360||n||Sep 2012||599|
|12.||Olympus E-PM2||110 mm||64 mm||34 mm||269 g||360||n||Sep 2012||499|
|13.||Panasonic GF7||107 mm||65 mm||33 mm||266 g||230||n||Jan 2015||499|
|14.||Panasonic G6||122 mm||85 mm||71 mm||390 g||340||n||Apr 2013||599|
|15.||Panasonic GF5||108 mm||67 mm||37 mm||267 g||360||n||Apr 2012||499|
|16.||Panasonic G3||115 mm||84 mm||47 mm||336 g||270||n||May 2011||599|
|17.||Panasonic GX1||116 mm||68 mm||39 mm||318 g||320||n||Nov 2011||699|
|Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
Any camera decision will naturally be influenced heavily by the price. The retail prices at the time of the camera’s release place the model in the market relative to other models in the producer’s line-up and the competition. The GF6 was launched at a somewhat lower price (by 17 percent) than the E-PL6, which makes it more attractive for photographers on a tight budget. Normally, street prices remain initially close to the MSRP, but after a couple of months, the first discounts appear. Later in the product cycle and, in particular, when the replacement model is about to appear, further discounting and stock clearance sales often push the camera price considerably down. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.
The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant of image quality. All other things equal, a large sensor will have larger individual pixel-units that offer better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixels in a sensor of the same technological generation. Moreover, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more control over depth-of-field in the image and, thus, the ability to better isolate a subject from the background. On the downside, larger sensors tend to be more expensive and lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.
Both cameras under consideration feature a Four Thirds sensor and have a format factor (sometimes also referred to as "crop factor") of 2.0. Within the spectrum of camera sensors, this places the review cameras among the medium-sized sensor cameras that aim to strike a balance between image quality and portability. Both cameras feature a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 4:3.
In terms of underlying technology, both cameras are build around CMOS sensors.
While the two cameras under review share the same sensor size, the E-PL6 offers a slightly higher resolution of 15.9 megapixels, compared with 15.8 MP of the GF6. This megapixels advantage translates into a 0.3 percent gain in linear resolution. On the other hand, these sensor specs imply that the E-PL6 has a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 3.76μm versus 3.77μm for the GF6). It is noteworthy in this context that the two cameras were released in close succession, so that their sensors are from the same technological generation.
The Olympus PEN E-PL6 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 200 to ISO 25600, which can be extended to ISO 100-25600. The corresponding ISO settings for the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF6 are ISO 160 to ISO 12800, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 160-25600.
Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. This service determines an overall sensor rating, as well as sub-scores for low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and color depth ("DXO Portrait"). The table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.
|1.||Olympus E-PL6||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/30p||22.5||12.0||717||68|
|2.||Panasonic GF6||Four Thirds||15.8||4592||3448||1080/60i||20.7||10.6||622||54|
|3.||Olympus E-PL10||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||4K/30p||23.3||13.1||1324||76|
|4.||Olympus E-PL9||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||4K/30p||23.1||12.8||1162||74|
|5.||Olympus E-M10 III||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||4K/30p||23.1||12.8||1120||74|
|6.||Olympus E-PL8||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/30p||23.0||12.6||1030||73|
|7.||Olympus E-M10 II||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/60p||23.1||12.5||842||73|
|8.||Olympus E-M10||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/30p||22.8||12.3||884||72|
|9.||Olympus E-PL7||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/30p||22.7||12.4||873||72|
|10.||Olympus E-P5||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/30p||22.8||12.4||895||72|
|11.||Olympus E-PL5||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/30p||22.8||12.3||889||72|
|12.||Olympus E-PM2||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/30p||22.7||12.2||932||72|
|13.||Panasonic GF7||Four Thirds||15.8||4592||3448||1080/60p||22.7||12.3||874||70|
|14.||Panasonic G6||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/60p||21.3||11.5||639||61|
|15.||Panasonic GF5||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||1080/60i||21.4||11.6||618||61|
|16.||Panasonic G3||Four Thirds||15.8||4592||3448||1080/60i||21.0||10.6||667||56|
|17.||Panasonic GX1||Four Thirds||15.8||4592||3448||1080/60p||20.8||10.6||703||55|
|Note: DXO values in italics represent estimates based on sensor size and age.|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. The two cameras under consideration both have sensors whose read-out speed is fast enough to capture moving pictures, but the GF6 provides a faster frame rate than the E-PL6. It can shoot movie footage at 1080/60i, while the Olympus is limited to 1080/30p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. The E-PL6 and the GF6 are similar in the sense that neither of the two has a viewfinder. The images are, thus, framed using live view on the rear LCD. That said, the E-PL6 can be equipped with an optional viewfinder – the VF-3. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Olympus E-PL6 and Panasonic GF6 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.
|1.||Olympus E-PL6||optional||n||3.0 / 460||tilting||Y||1/4000s||8.0/s||n||Y|
|2.||Panasonic GF6||none||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||4.2/s||Y||n|
|3.||Olympus E-PL10||none||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||8.6/s||Y||Y|
|4.||Olympus E-PL9||none||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||8.6/s||Y||Y|
|5.||Olympus E-M10 III||2360||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||8.6/s||Y||Y|
|6.||Olympus E-PL8||optional||n||3.0 / 1037||tilting||Y||1/4000s||8.0/s||n||Y|
|7.||Olympus E-M10 II||2360||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||8.0/s||Y||Y|
|8.||Olympus E-M10||1440||n||3.0 / 1037||tilting||Y||1/4000s||8.0/s||Y||Y|
|9.||Olympus E-PL7||optional||n||3.0 / 1037||tilting||Y||1/4000s||8.0/s||n||Y|
|10.||Olympus E-P5||optional||n||3.0 / 1037||tilting||Y||1/8000s||9.0/s||Y||Y|
|11.||Olympus E-PL5||optional||n||3.0 / 460||tilting||Y||1/4000s||8.0/s||n||Y|
|12.||Olympus E-PM2||optional||n||3.0 / 460||fixed||Y||1/4000s||8.0/s||n||Y|
|13.||Panasonic GF7||none||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/500s||5.8/s||Y||n|
|14.||Panasonic G6||1440||n||3.0 / 1036||swivel||Y||1/4000s||7.0/s||Y||n|
|15.||Panasonic GF5||none||n||3.0 / 920||fixed||Y||1/4000s||4.0/s||Y||n|
|16.||Panasonic G3||1440||n||3.0 / 460||swivel||Y||1/4000s||4.0/s||Y||n|
|17.||Panasonic GX1||optional||n||3.0 / 460||fixed||Y||1/4000s||4.2/s||Y||n|
|Notes: *) Information refers to the mechanical shutter, unless the camera only has an electronic one.|
One feature that differentiates the E-PL6 and the GF6 is in-body image stabilization (IBIS). The E-PL6 reduces the risk of handshake-induced blur with all attached lenses, while the GF6 offers no blur reduction with lenses that themselves do not provide optical image stabilization.Both cameras have an articulated rear screen that can be turned to be front-facing. This feature will be particularly appreciated by vloggers and photographers who are interested in taking selfies.
The Olympus E-PL6 has an intervalometer built-in. This enables the photographer to capture time lapse sequences, such as flower blooming, a sunset or moon rise, without purchasing an external camera trigger and related software.
Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the E-PL6 and the GF6 write their files to SDXC cards. Both cameras can use UHS-I cards, which provide for Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s.
For some imaging applications, the extent to which a camera can communicate with its environment can be an important aspect in the camera decision process. The table below provides an overview of the connectivity of the Olympus PEN E-PL6 and Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF6 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
Mic / Speaker
|1.||Olympus E-PL6||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|2.||Panasonic GF6||-||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|3.||Olympus E-PL10||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y|
|4.||Olympus E-PL9||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y|
|5.||Olympus E-M10 III||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|6.||Olympus E-PL8||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|7.||Olympus E-M10 II||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|8.||Olympus E-M10||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|9.||Olympus E-PL7||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|10.||Olympus E-P5||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|11.||Olympus E-PL5||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|12.||Olympus E-PM2||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|13.||Panasonic GF7||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|14.||Panasonic G6||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|15.||Panasonic GF5||-||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|16.||Panasonic G3||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|17.||Panasonic GX1||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
It is notable that the E-PL6 has a hotshoe, while the GF6 does not. This socket makes it possible to easily attach optional accessories, such as an external flash gun.
Both the E-PL6 and the GF6 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The GF6 was replaced by the Panasonic GF7, while the E-PL6 was followed by the Olympus E-PL7. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Olympus and Panasonic websites.
So how do things add up? Is the Olympus E-PL6 better than the Panasonic GF6 or vice versa? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.
Advantages of the Olympus PEN E-PL6:
- More framing options: Can be equipped with a hotshoe-mounted accessory-viewfinder.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (8 vs 4.2 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
- Sharper images: Has hand-shake reducing image stabilization built-in.
- Better lighting: Features a hotshoe and can thus hold and trigger an external flash gun.
Reasons to prefer the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF6:
- Better video: Provides higher movie framerates (1080/60i versus 1080/30p).
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1040k vs 460k dots).
- Easier fill-in: Has a small integrated flash to brighten shadows of backlit subjects.
- Easier file upload: Has wifi built in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
- Easier device pairing: Supports NFC for fast wireless image transfer over short distances.
- More affordable: Was released into a lower priced segment (17 percent cheaper at launch).
If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the GF6 comes out slightly ahead of the E-PL6 (6 : 5 points). However, the pertinence of the various camera strengths will differ across photographers, so that you might want to weigh individual camera traits according to their importance for your own imaging needs before making a camera decision. A professional wildlife photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a family photog, and a person interested in architecture has distinct needs from a sports shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.
How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Olympus E-PL6 and the Panasonic GF6 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera listing whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.
In any case, while the comparison of the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the E-PL6 or the GF6. User reviews that are available, for instance, at amazon can sometimes shed light on these issues, but such feedback is all too often partial, inconsistent, and inaccurate.
This is why hands-on reviews by experts are important. The adjacent summary-table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular camera review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], digitalcameraworld [DCW], dpreview [DPR], ephotozine [EPZ], photographyblog [PB]). As can be seen, the professional reviewers agree in many cases on the quality of different cameras, but sometimes their assessments diverge, reinforcing the earlier point that a camera decision is often a very personal choice.
|1.||Olympus E-PL6||..||..||..||..||..||..||May 2013||599|
|2.||Panasonic GF6||..||+ +||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Apr 2013||499|
|3.||Olympus E-PL10||..||..||4/5||77/100||..||4/5||Oct 2019||599|
|4.||Olympus E-PL9||..||+||..||..||4.5/5||4/5||Feb 2018||599|
|5.||Olympus E-M10 III||..||+||5/5||80/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2017||649|
|6.||Olympus E-PL8||..||..||..||..||4.5/5||4/5||Sep 2016||549|
|7.||Olympus E-M10 II||4.5/5||+ +||..||80/100||5/5||5/5||Aug 2015||649|
|8.||Olympus E-M10||4/5||..||..||80/100||5/5||5/5||Jan 2014||699|
|9.||Olympus E-PL7||4/5||+||..||..||5/5||4/5||Aug 2014||599|
|10.||Olympus E-P5||5/5||+ +||..||78/100||4.5/5||5/5||May 2013||999|
|11.||Olympus E-PL5||3/5||+ +||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||599|
|12.||Olympus E-PM2||3/5||..||..||77/100||5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||499|
|13.||Panasonic GF7||4/5||+||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2015||499|
|14.||Panasonic G6||4/5||+ +||..||..||5/5||4.5/5||Apr 2013||599|
|15.||Panasonic GF5||3/5||..||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Apr 2012||499|
|16.||Panasonic G3||3/5||+ +||..||75/100||4.5/5||5/5||May 2011||599|
|17.||Panasonic GX1||3/5||+||..||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Nov 2011||699|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The ratings are only valid when referring to cameras in the same category and of the same age. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, and comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods have little meaning. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.
Other camera comparisons
Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? In case you would like to check on the differences and similarities of other camera models, just make your choice using the following search menu. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.
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Specifications: Olympus E-PL6 vs Panasonic GF6
Below is a side-by-side comparison of the specs of the two cameras to facilitate a quick review of their differences and common features.
|Camera Model||Olympus E-PL6||Panasonic GF6|
|Camera Type||Mirrorless system camera||Mirrorless system camera|
|Camera Lens||Micro Four Thirds lenses||Micro Four Thirds lenses|
|Launch Date||May 2013||April 2013|
|Launch Price||USD 599||USD 499|
|Sensor Specs||Olympus E-PL6||Panasonic GF6|
|Sensor Format||Four Thirds Sensor||Four Thirds Sensor|
|Sensor Size||17.3 x 13.0 mm||17.3 x 13.0 mm|
|Sensor Area||224.9 mm2||224.9 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||21.6 mm||21.6 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||15.9 Megapixels||15.8 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||4608 x 3456 pixels||4592 x 3448 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||3.76 μm||3.77 μm|
|Pixel Density||7.08 MP/cm2||7.04 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/30p Video||1080/60i Video|
|ISO Setting||200 - 25,600 ISO||160 - 12,800 ISO|
|ISO Boost||100 - 25,600 ISO||160 - 25,600 ISO|
|Image Processor||TruePic VI||Venus FHD|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||..||54|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||..||20.7|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||..||10.6|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||..||622|
|Screen Specs||Olympus E-PL6||Panasonic GF6|
|Viewfinder Type||Viewfinder optional||no viewfinder|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||460k dots||1040k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Tilting screen||Tilting screen|
|Shooting Specs||Olympus E-PL6||Panasonic GF6|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||8 shutter flaps/s||4.2 shutter flaps/s|
|Time-Lapse Photography||Intervalometer built-in||no Intervalometer|
|Image Stabilization||In-body stabilization||Lens stabilization only|
|Fill Flash||no On-Board Flash||Built-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||UHS-I||UHS-I|
|Connectivity Specs||Olympus E-PL6||Panasonic GF6|
|External Flash||Hotshoe||no Hotshoe|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI||mini HDMI|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||Wifi built-in|
|Near-Field Communication||no NFC||NFC built-in|
|Body Specs||Olympus E-PL6||Panasonic GF6|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||360 shots per charge||340 shots per charge|
111 x 64 x 38 mm
(4.4 x 2.5 x 1.5 in)
111 x 65 x 38 mm
(4.4 x 2.6 x 1.5 in)
|Camera Weight||325 g (11.5 oz)||323 g (11.4 oz)|
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